Parents to be offered ‘inside information’ on schools

Parents could be given access to sensitive information about
nursery schools, including the qualifications and turnover of
staff, a London conference heard this week.

Steve Harwood, information for parents specialist at the Department
for Education and Skills, told the conference organised by
children’s information charity Opportunity Links that parents
would be able to use the information to help them choose the best
places for their children.

Harwood added that, in the long-term, the approach might also be
extended to open up information about primary and secondary

The news came as, for the first time, child minder inspection
reports were published on the Ofsted website for parents to search,
This service has already been available in relation to day care
providers since April 2003.

This week also marked the publication of the first child minder and
day care provider inspection reports under the new inspection
framework and grading system introduced in April 2005. Of over 1000
providers inspected since April, 16 have been graded as

Previously, the highest a child care provider could achieve was
“good” and the highest a nursery education provider
could achieve was “very good”. The four categories
against which both sets of providers are now judged are
“outstanding”, “good”,
“satisfactory”, and “inadequate”.

Ofsted’s director of early years, Maurice Smith, said:
“This is a fantastic achievement by those who work in the
child care profession and go all-out to provide a top class
service, whether they are a child minder or work in a

“Over one million children are placed with child minders and
in nurseries every day so it is imperative that parents have easy
access to good information about the quality of care their children
are getting.”

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